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The techiest cars displayed at the recently held Auto Expo 2016

At the recently held Auto Expo 2016, cutting-edge car technology overrode worries about speed and safety, writes Rajiv Makhni.

brunch Updated: Feb 15, 2016 12:44 IST
Auto Expo

*There’s more tech in a car than in a room full of computers.

* A car runs about one hundred million lines of code. That’s more than all the code that runs an aircraft.

* CES should change its name from Consumer Electronic Show to Car Electronic Show. More cars than gadgets were showcased there.

* Today, the primary difference between cars in a similar category is the number of technological features they have.

As you may have gleaned from the above four headlines taken from various sources, I’m trying very hard to prove that tech is now becoming the most important thing in cars. How many people today buy a car based on horsepower, torque, cylinders, transmission, ATC, ECM and about a dozen other such mind boggling but eventually boring auto jargon?

But people do love their car display screens, in car apps, heads up displays, audio and video systems, auto park features, camera and angles all around, anti collision, auto lane drive and multiple other tech add ons that are changing the very shape and face of the automobile industry. Auto Expo 2016 that took place in India and just got over was further proof of how tech is accelerating at a breakneck speed and taking over the car business.

Here are the techiest cars displayed there:

Gear up for luxury

This makes it as easily on this list as it is easy on the eye. BMW always does a stellar job with its flagship luxury model – but this time seems to have gone into over drive. Gesture Control, Remote Control Parking (park your 7 Series into a tight parking space without being inside the car), Display Key(the key has a display that shows service reminders, cabin temperature, mileage range and fuel level), Touch Command System (a 7 inch display Tablet for the rear seats that give you complete control), Wireless Charging and Sky Lounge.

Hand it to them: BMW’s gesture control really stands out, with hand commands for volume, phone calls and other tasks.

But its the gesture control that really stands out where six pre-defined hand movements control a number of functions like volume control, accepting or rejecting phone calls, replying or deleting messages, closing an information window, changing the camera angle or your own custom choice of function. Prices start at about 1.1 crore.

Get a heads-up

The Jag F Type is by far one of the most advanced sports cars in the world. Inspired from that sports car DNA comes this all new SUV. Rigid all aluminium body and a supremely aerodynamic styling literally blows your socks off, till you get inside the car. That’s a whole different level of blow away.

The Touch Pro is all screens! 10.2 inch Touch infotainment screen with a 12.3 inch Virtual Instrument Display. There’s 3 Dimensional Maps, text to voice for all telephony and Jaguars truly innovative array of InControl Apps. InControl Protect transmits your location and your car condition in real time thus bringing you relevant services or assistance automatically.

The cat’s whiskers: Jaguar’s heads-up display projects vehicle speed, navigation, cruise control and traffic data onto the windshield using lasers.

But the stand out feature here is the Heads up display that projects vehicle speed, navigation, cruise control notifications and and traffic data onto the windshield using laser technology. Should come to India at about Rs 60-70 Lakhs.

The new gadgets

The R8 has been around for a while. And yet even now, it manages to attract the biggest crowds and the best collective oooohs at any event. The V10 takes that monster seduction even further. Things have changed a bit outside – but the tech on the inside is all new. Audi virtual cockpit has a 12.3” LCD full digital instrument cluster with three visual modes that wrap all around you.

Yours to command: Control your Audi by scribbling handwriting on the screen or via the microphones built into the safety belts.

Audi Connect with Google Earth is by far the most advanced navigation system in a car. The touch infotainment can be controlled with handwriting on the screen or voice commands with microphones built into the safety belts. And somehow into that absolutely wrapped all around you with not an inch of space to waste interior cockpit, they still manage to put in 12 speakers. They make sure you really do hear the sound of music and the emotion behind it by charging you about 2.47 crores for it.

There was a lot more tech hidden behind the cars. Jeep enters India with its Cherokee and Wrangler and brings in a serious amount of tech innovation, Mahindra as always leads from the front with tech features even if they haven’t mastered fit and finish, Honda takes it connected car experience further with the BR-V, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza proves that it doesn’t need to cost a fortune for a car to have great tech inside and the Ford Mustang is all about being serious muscle car with serious tech muscle also flexed.

Its time to declare it. The Car is no longer part of the automobile industry as its revved, slid and crashed deep into the tech industry. The Car is now the Biggest Gadget in the World.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

From HT Brunch, February 14, 2016

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First Published: Feb 13, 2016 21:06 IST